If Mandarin Immersion is adopted fluent Mandarin speaking children should be excluded
Original post made
by David, Professorville,
on Dec 27, 2006
I am not necessarily against a Mandarin immersion program but if one is adopted children who already speak Chinese (any dialect) should be excluded.
If fluent Chinese speakers are included it will be impossible for teachers to create a coherent program. Either the program will be geared to the non-Chinese speaking students and the Chinese speakers will be bored or the program will be geared to the Chinese speakers and the non-Chinese speakers will be lost.
If the non-Chinese speaking students drop out they will be replaced by Chinese speaking students and we will end up with a private Chinese school funded by the public school system as opponents of MI fear.
The reason why speakers of Chinese dialects other than Mandarin should be excluded is because the written language is common to all dialects and Cantonese speaking friends assure me that the differences between spoken Cantonese and Mandarin are not all that great.
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Posted by Pauline
a resident of Juana Briones School
on Jan 1, 2007 at 1:42 pm
Bill, looks like I wasn't clear about what I meant by open access to all programs.
By keeping all programs open to all kids, I mean that, except for SI, so far we offer all program curricula to all kids.
In other words, whether the child is in Ohlone or Hoover or Young Fives or Special Ed or GATE or AP etc, all kids ( except for SI kids so far) have access to all the curricular programs that the other kids have, such as music, art, math, science, etc. This means that all qualified kids, regardless of program, ( except SI) are exposed to and have the opportunity to discover their strengths in the same subjects as all the other kids have access to, from young fives onward.
Granted, each school chooses to use its resources to enhance offerings in some areas more than others, but nonetheless every elementary school has all these subjects to at least a minimal district standard.
This is probably, for me, the single most overiding objection I have ( though, to be honest, I have several others that come very close ) to the whole "immersion for a few" idea in our district.
But, in any case, we are straying off the path of the original premise of this thread, so I will sign off.
Though, maybe I should say, at the risk of really irritating whoever David is, but in the interest of honesty on my part, ...David, your entire premise shows a lack of understanding of how the Immersion programs are modelled. An immersion program HAS to have native speakers of the "foreign" language for the other children to be "immersed" in the language. In fact, the less English the "foreign language" kids speak, the better for the English language kids so that they are forced to manage in the foreign langauge on the playground and classroom.
Also, a major selling point of the Spanish Immersion programs is that the children who come from Spanish speaking homes in the Southwest and West tend to come from homes with little to no education, and speak poor Spanish. If you teach those kids GOOD Spanish, then their English, when learned, is much better because of transfering the language skills over to English.
Therefore, a selling point of SI has been as a method of addressing a high risk population of students to help bring them more fully into our society..and a great side benefit has been the education of English speaking kids in Spanish, with all the benefits learning a foreign language brings to the development of thinking skills.
From all the data, trying to manage in our society is not something we are concerned about when we talk about the Mandarin speaking population, so this is not argument in support of MI.
Also, it still isn't clear from the data if Spanish speaking kids in SI programs do better because of the program, or because of the self-selection by type of parents who choose SI for their kids. So, the jury is out for this reasoning.
The part you said that is true, though, is that replacing kids who leave the program tends to make the program more and more skewed, because the kids coming in later have to already be proficient at that grade level in the foreign language. Or, if they aren't replaced and the classes just shrink, it is still true that the class becomes skewed, since it is primarily attrition from the English speakers that happens.
In any case, Happy New Year everyone..